THE ‘TWIN’ JOURNEY OF TRANSFORMATION.

In 2013, two brilliant and extraordinary ladies joined our program; Linda and Lina. Identical twins who were already high impact leaders at the University of Nairobi, Linda was the SONU Secretary for Gender, while Lina had just been elected to the SONU secretariat. Both ladies were ambitious and thirsty for more empowerment opportunities. They joined one of our programs then, “Ladies of Splendor” through which they were trained on leadership, good governance and mentorship – and later on they were partnered with a mentor to walk with them and guide them on their leadership journey, as we do with all our mentees at the end of any of our classes.

Through ELF they both had a chance to be trained by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on political leadership, campaign strategies and the political parties processes. Later on, they were trained by Heshimika Excellency Initiative on innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development in line with our belief that every young person must be tooled with livelihood skills to enable them solve everyday challenges within their communities.

Linda and Lina later joined the Red Cross Club which enabled them to give back to society and teach them the value of servant leadership which is at the core of our training.

Through the networks they formed and the forums they attended, the visionary ladies started their own initiative called; The Identical Family, which today has over fifty sets of identical twins as members. The organization focuses on corporate events management and also visits mothers who have delivered twins to share the joy with them and break any stereotypes associated with having twins in Africa.

Lina says,

“ELF prepared me for the corporate world through public speaking training which has been of great benefit at my current job as a Marketing Executive in a financial Institution. Five years down the line, I look back and appreciate all the skills I acquired and the networks I formed”

The adorable twins point to a quote by Marianne Williamson in her poem (Our Deepest Fear) as having the most influence on their leadership journey to date,

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Linda is a relationship officer at an insurance company where she enjoys meeting and working with different people. Lina on the other hand is a marketing executive and prides in having cross function expertise in business and financial analysis.

This is the ELF dream, that we would help every young leader in Africa to discover who they are, and find a higher purpose to live for, that we would connect this leader to like minded young leaders to form a critical mass of change agents and to also connect them to mentors and organizations that would help prepare and guide them towards their purpose, finally our mentees would bring positive change in their respective communities through initiatives that solve the challenges around them.

 

GOVERNANCE & PAN-AFRICANISM RECAP

“Young people are experts of their own experience. No one knows being youth today than the youth themselves”

It has been exactly a week since I graduated from my university. With all this excitement, I couldn’t get a better gift from ELF than this session. As I went through the session, I could clearly see it as a great gift to me. The session inspired me, challenged me and more so shaped my mental focus and strength for the life journey ahead. To summarize in one word, the session was – excellent!

The experience of going through a session, finding out that you have not really done and that you need to hit the reset button in your life in order to progressively move forward was an eye opener to me.

With the theme of Governance and Pan-Africanism, we started off with a training on “Letter to Self”

“Self–awareness is being conscious of who you are and who you are not”

We were encouraged to always learn to go an extra mile and that the self is the basis of your leadership journey. Before we started to write letters to self, we learnt about the basics of character (5Cs);

  1. Consciousness – Everything comes from consciousness
  2. Consumption – Our environments shape us to be who we are. This is the reason why President’s kids become Presidents
  3. Choices – Choices are the basis of our own lives
  4. Cheer yourself up – Learn to be your own cheer leader
  5. Correct yourself – If you don’t learn to correct yourself, someone else will

 

On Pan-Africanism;

  1. As a nation, we need to have a true conversation with ourselves.
  2. Pan-Africanism should start in our families.
  3. Pan-Africanism is about identity at a higher level. This connection should not only

bind us but liberate us.

  1. The love for our continent fuels Pan-Africanism.
  2. The future of any nation is dependent on the young generation. It cannot depend on us

if we cannot show interest/be involved in current issues.

  1. Africa is not interested in people who can die for it but those who can live for it.
  2. The importance of knowledge and information is that;

 It makes you a better person

 It is worth the sacrifice

 It helps you to write more, know more and read more

 It helps you in making intellectual conversations

 It creates value in you. When you create value in you, people notice it.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”-

Ralph W. Emerson

The afternoon session was led by Mr. Maliba. He started out with the above statement. We

had some basics on youth engagement. He informed us that youth engagement happens when

young people have sustained connections everywhere in their life. The determinants of

engagement include;

  1. Social and economic environment
  2. The physical environment, and
  3. The person’s individual characteristics and behavior

The spheres of youth engagement include;

  1. Self-engagement: Emotional, psychological, or physical well-being
  2. Families: Home, recreation, decision-making, food and nutrition, culture.
  3. Community: Peers, faith, communities, school, and other community settings
  4. Society: Mass media, industry and the economy, social service, their neighbor and

politics

Engagement is a cognitive process i.e. when the brain becomes stimulated by external

stimuli, in this case relating to politics, elaboration occurs. To engage effectively, young

people must understand where we are, get their context and global context right. The steps for

effective engagement includes;

  1. Seek to be included from the beginning – Be part of all steps
  2. Have a clear purpose and plan – It will bring the right people along
  3. Identify and secure resources i.e.

 Human resources: coordination, training, supervision and mentorship.

 Financial resources: power, requires energy a lot of it.

 Partnership resources: leverage resources, piggyback on existing streams

  1. Find role play clearly valued in dignity and be empowered because power responds to

power, speak power, be knowledgeable, be informed and know your stuff. Create a

feedback and learning loop that will allow continuous program modification based on

youth input sound boarding.

  1. Structural support and training –Support vs. Empowerment.

Lastly, Mr. Maliba finished the session with a discussion on the tools of engagement. In

summary, here is what he said,

a) Canvasing: Face to face is still king. People can be mean on phone or email; they

are likely to have empathy in one –to-one engagement.

b) Social media and technology: All of us are well versed with it but its use is still a

challenge.

c) Relationships: Be relational. This doesn’t mean that you are sucked up.

d) Protest: Like war, protest is never an end in itself. Protest in dignity is more

important than living in indignity.

In conclusion, all we can do is study the lives of people who seem to have found their

answers to questions of what ultimately human life is about as against those who have not.

Everything great is just as difficult to realize as it is rare to find.

Edward Kipkalya

Emerging Leaders Foundation Cohort 5 Mentee

Emerging Leaders

Here is a beautiful poem from one of the leaders we trained from Matungulu Girls, there is no better way to kick-off our weekend.

Emerging Leaders.

Amazing I would say,
What was done in a day,
Light was brought not just a ray,
Allow me to express if I may.

A group,
Not just any troop,
Impacting Change,
Going beyond the range.

Empowering leaders,
Making futures brighter,
Connecting not just inspiring,
Strong leaders emerging.

Training the best,
Who’ll stand out from the rest,
To cause that difference,
Taking advantage of every chance.

 

By Perpetual Wangari.

PRESIDENT OBAMA RECOGNIZES THE WORK OF EMERGING LEADERS FOUNDATION.

On the 17th of July 2018 the world congregated in Johannesburg to celebrate the 100th birthday of an iconic man who conquered all odds to champion for the freedom of south Africa and the end of apartheid, a man who alongside other compatriots brought healing to the people of south Africa. Nelson Madiba Mandela.

And who better to give the keynote lecture on this day than President Barrack Obama? On the back drop of this celebration was the coming together of two hundred young African leaders from across the continent who are change agents in their communities, they had been brought together under the auspices of the Obama Foundation whose mission is to inspire, empower and connect people to change their world.

Among the two hundred young leaders sitting in south Africa to discuss the issues of our continent and possible interventions was the audacious young Kenyan, Caren Wakoli who is the founder and executive director of Emerging Leaders Foundation – a non-governmental organization based in Kenya that offers all round training and mentorship on leadership to the youth in Kenya.

It was both humbling and exciting to hear president Obama recognize our work on this important day, this level of affirmation acts to fan our passion to see to fruition the work of leadership transformation in Kenya and Africa.

 

In our six years of existence, we have reached over 7,000 young people, from different counties who are causing impact in different sectors – We have deliberately designed a leadership training and mentorship experience for individuals to impact their communities and for interns or entry-level workers to muster necessary skills to thrive in life. We equip the youth with knowledge and skills to enable them to constructively participate in governance and policy processes.